Why Bloggers Need To Clap Back At Bad Outreach

defeat bad blogger outreach

Hi gang!

A few days ago I got yet another of those awful emails from so-called PRs. You know the type. The ones who clearly haven’t read your blog and instead have conducted some sort of misinformed keyword search in order to determine if their piece of crap content would be a “good fit” to share on your blog, before conducting blogger outreach without actually thinking it through.

You can read the email exchange in the tweet at the end of this post, but let’s break it down before I go into the reasons why we have to fight back on this sort of rubbish.

The Outreach Email You Should Be Mad At

So, let’s start with the outreach email subject line: “Love your content about cat and dog! (and a proposal)”.

At this stage I’m already prepared for this to be the 48959457839th email I’ve gotten where people assume my blog is about cats. On a base level, I can’t blame them but it’d take about a fifth of a second of actually looking at my blog to realise NOPE. No cats with whiskers, just a 20-something Cat posing awkwardly and blogging about her life.

You’re probably thinking at this stage I should click delete, right? Maybe I should have. But nope, I opened that email up and hilarity ensued. But let’s start slow, shall we?

“Hi there,

My name is Kate, I am the main editor at Top Reveal (http://topreveal.com).”

Of course, at this stage I’ve just got to open a new tab and check out the website. To the surprise of no one, it was a content farm.

What’s a content farm? It’s basically a terrible looking website that posts regular rubbish content that it then shares with bloggers to try and get a link to improve their SEO. Don’t ever do a follow link to these garbage sites because it could backfire and damage your SEO efforts. But anyway, let’s move on to the next part of the email shall we?

“While browsing your site, I noticed you have an amazing article from this page:

[LINK TO MY ‘THE CURIOUS INCIDENT’ REVIEW]

My team actually just published a comprehensive article on The Little Things That Separate and Unite Cat Owners vs Dog Owners which I think your visitors would truly appreciate and add value to your awesome article.

You can check it out here: http://topreveal.com/cat-owners-vs-dog-owners”

So here – our lovely friend Kate has done another keyword search to find an article about dogs. What she hasn’t bothered to take the time to do is realise that actually, this article is a review of a play. SPOILER ALERT. The dog is dead by the time the play starts. Soz if I ruined that for anyone, but most people even open the book the play is based on knowing that information.

Now I’m at a bit of a loss, because this dreadful article about cat owners vs dog owners would not at all fit with my review of The Curious Incident Of The Dog In The Nighttime. As for it “adding value”. Well, I literally scoffed as I read it.

To add insult to injury, here’s the last part of the outreach email…

“If you were willing to add our link to that page, I would be more than happy to share it to thousands of our social followers to help you gain some visibility in exchange.

Let me know what you think and thank you for your consideration!

Cheers,

Kate Evans”

Wow! You’d share my article to your thousands of followers? Lucky me! Let’s look at those social accounts shall we?

Hmm…as suspected…sure you have quite a few followers (over 5k on Twitter, 1k on Facebook), but next to no engagement on your posts. HOW INTRIGUING. Annoyingly, I can’t call you out as definitely having fake followers because Social Blade can’t gather enough data on you, but I’m going to go on a hunch and assume at least a few of those are paid for.

That’s not even going into the whole frustration of PRs, SEOs and brands assuming that bloggers should except a social share as a payment. Even if your blog earnings aren’t paying the rent or bills – you still have the right to be paid for doing this sort of thing.

But please don’t do this sort of thing – even for actual real money. It’s not worth it and your readers will see right through it. But don’t ignore these emails either. It’s 👏  time 👏  to 👏  clap 👏  back.

The Response You Should Send To Bad PRs/SEOs/Brands That Are Taking The Piss

So, are you ready?

Because now we’re going to break down the response I sent to their laughable outreach attempt. Just FYI, they haven’t replied to this and they may have just deleted it. But we need to let these jokers know that they are wasting our time and what they’re doing is totally not OK.

“Hi Kate

Please accept my apology for curtness, but you might notice if you read the blog post you linked that it is a review of a play, so has little to nothing to do with the content you have produced.

I will not be adding a link to the piece on my blog, and you may also like to know that sharing my blog to your social media followers is not an acceptable form of payment to a blogger – just a tip you may wish to consider.

Best wishes
Cat”

I’m not sorry for being curt at all, really. But the “sweary” version of a response to this sort of thing means they win, really. Kill them with kindness, instead.

I decided not to call them out too much on their terrible research and outreach methods that determined my blog “suitable” to share their article. I had to make that point, but the more important point to make is that sharing your blog is not an acceptable form of payment to a blogger. But as people don’t tend to like being told what to do, I offered it as a kind piece of advice instead.

If enough of us start doing this instead of automatically clicking ‘Trash’, or simply ignoring these emails, this madness might eventually cease. Hey, it’s worth a try.

Oh, and here’s the exchange as a screenshot. I’ll keep y’all updated if I ever get a response!

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10 Comments

  1. April 30, 2017 / 11:56 am

    I saw the tweet when you first spoke about it and couldn’t believe what they sent you but bravo on your excellent response. I would have loved to have seen her face at that response .

    I remember one of my first collabs with a company and now can’t believe how naive I was but basically I got paid £10 to buy ingredients, make up a recipe for them to post on their site and when I posted the recipe I was then told it had to be a followed link. Now if an email like that ended up in my inbox I certainly wouldn’t take them up on their ‘kind’ offer but maybe I should let them know that us bloggers are worth a lot more than that 🙂

    • Cat
      April 30, 2017 / 1:20 pm

      Haha thank you – although some felt I was too soft! I just think that it is still another human being doing their job at the other side of that email, so I wouldn’t want to be rude!

      We’ve all been there with our first collabs – some still do it again and again because they know no better! It’s a shame but hopefully if more established bloggers start fighting back, the PRs, SEOs and brands will stop trying to take the piss!

  2. April 30, 2017 / 7:47 pm

    So well done and well said! I know there are some good PRs out there but too many of them send out copy and pasted crap to any old bugger with a tenuous link to whatever they’re pushing. I straight up delete half of the cack that finds its way into my inbox.

    • Cat
      April 30, 2017 / 8:17 pm

      Thank you! Yeah there are some good PRs out there, and I’m lucky to have worked with 1 or 2, but yes so many of them are *dreadful*.

  3. May 2, 2017 / 4:56 pm

    This is shocking! It’s unbelievably rude, coming at it from the other side and being the person to email bloggers, I wouldn’t dream of sending something as template-y as that and not even bothering to read the blog! Wow I’m really surprised! Can understand how PR’s get such a bad rep!!

    • Cat
      May 2, 2017 / 6:33 pm

      I know, right?! Ridiculous. I have limited experience of blogger outreach from the PR-side and I also would never have approached it like this, no matter how time-strapped I was! It’s a shame there are PRs out there letting the side down for the good ones!

  4. May 4, 2017 / 12:14 pm

    Oh gosh – what an appalling email!! I consider myself quite lucky really to have not received too many of these. But I have had a few! I usually just hit delete, but in future I’ll be taking your advice and clapping back at their bad outreach attempts!

    • Cat
      May 7, 2017 / 6:32 pm

      I know right?! It’s dreadful! I don’t get tonnes of them but when they do pop up it seems to happen all at once! I definitely want to encourage bloggers to not delete and to tell it how it is… so glad you’ll be giving it a good go!

  5. May 24, 2017 / 1:28 pm

    What do you do if someone says they’ll pay you for a blog post, but never does?

    I know the easy solution is to delete the post but it doesn’t seem fair when you spent time writing it!

    • Cat
      May 26, 2017 / 2:10 pm

      I would remove any reference to them and just edit the post as best I could so they get no benefit from it (e.g. removing any links to their site etc). If it’s a product review, I would probably set it back to Draft and tell them you’ll set it live again once you have payment. They can’t benefit from it from an SEO perspective if the post isn’t live!

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